You can't miss this one as Surya has done a brilliant act. But the violence literally blows one's mind
Cast: Surya, Shruti Haasan, Johnny Tri Nguyen
I am a great fan of Surya and I was quite fascinated when I watched the promos of this film on TV. Venkat was also keen on watching the film. All this, despite the niggling feeling of doubt as I had not liked Ghajini at all considering the violence that was prevalent in Murugadoss’s earlier work. And so, Venkat and I went for the show last Friday night at Cinemax Sion.
THE STORY: The film begins 1600 years ago and is about Bodhi Dharman (Surya), a Prince of the Pallava Dynasty ruling from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Bodhi Dharman is well-trained in Kalari payatu, herbal medicine and mesmerism. He decides go to China to spread his knowledge. It takes him three years to reach a small Chinese village. The people there are aware of a terrible problem that is to come. On seeing Bodhi Dharman, they decide that he is the perpetrator of the trouble. He goes to live a solitary life in a cave when he realizes that he is unwelcome. But soon, disease strikes the village and they get a cure only with Bodhi Dharman’s help. Later, when enemies attack, the village is once again saved by Bodhi Dharman’s valour. Soon, the people persuade Bodhi Dharman to train them in martial arts and herbal medicine at The Shaolin Temple there. They call him Damo and believe that he is their God and savior. That does not stop them from poisoning Bodhi Dharman as they are keen that his body should be buried in their soil to ensure their welfare. He consumes the poison despite knowing the truth and falls in with the locals’ wishes.
Cut to the present, Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen) is the best student of The Shaolin Temple. Only he is Evil incarnate. The Chinese decide to send him to India to start a Bio-war, instigating a viral disease. They hope to rule over India as they have the cure taught them by Damo.
Subha (Shruti Haasan) is a student of bio-technology research and she is doing a research on human DNA. During her research, she finds out that Arvind (Surya) is a direct descendent of Bodhi Dharman and his DNA matches 80 plus percent with his ancestor. She hopes to treat him in such a way that he becomes 100% compatible with his ancestor.
Will she get permission from the government to go ahead with her tests? Will Arvind agree to be her guinea pig? How can Dong Lee be stopped from being successful at the bio-war set off by the Chinese against India? Watch the film to find the answers to these questions.
MY PERCEPTION: The story was simply amazing, especially considering that Bodhi Dharman really existed in yonder days. Of course, there is a bit of back and forth about his being a Pallava Prince or otherwise.
Surya was just fantastic as Bodhi Dharman. He looked too handsome and with no dialogues to utter, he spoke just perfectly through his expressions. His eyes said them all, in fact. The fight sequences, the suffering villagers, his travel to China in yonder times, etc. etc. etc. were just brilliant. I just loved the first 45 minutes of the movie.
While the story was amazing, it was scripted very badly. The music and songs were wonderful, but distract the viewer from the film. Whenever the film seems to take off, the hero breaks into song and dance with the heroine. Why?????????? Despite all that, the songs and their picturisation were excellent. The male voice – Kartik, I think – was superb.
Every situation was authentic and well-researched. But sadly, the negativity came across as a slap to the face. Johnny Tri Nguyen made a good villain, but somehow I felt the film was more focused on him rather than on Surya playing Arvind.
Shruti had been simply terrible in Luck. While her acting skills have improved in this film, her Tamil diction was horrible. To believe that she is Kamal Haasan’s daughter! I know it’s not fair to compare. But come on, I am not comparing her acting skills to her father’s. For a girl who has spent at least half her life in Chennai and probably with her Tam-Bram parent, Shruti speaks Tamil horribly. Or is it a kind of ‘style’ to pronounce the words so badly? Believe you me, Shruti Haasan, it does not sit well at all. What worked for Shruti were her looks and her figure. She looks beautiful and has a terrific dress sense.
The film ran for 2 hours and 40 minutes and had some terrible fight sequences. I suppose I should have expected them considering Murugadoss’s record. But it still hit me hard.
The first 45 minutes were simply amazing and gave me a lot of hope. The film is negative till the end and turns positive just 2 minutes before the screen went off. One would think that with so much build up towards the whole thing, the director would have given a little more time to show the positive changes wrought about by the DNA changes in Arvind. Nope! No such hope in this movie.
The worst thing that hit me was Arvind’s preaching on TV at the end. Thank God, it was short even if it was rather painful. Who wants to be preached? The film should talk for itself. Preaching used to happen in the songs in Sivaji / MGR days. Today, we look forward to more subtle expressions.
With this kind of story idea, the film could have been way better than it was. The star rating that I am giving belongs exclusively to Surya and his work.
VERDICT: You have to see it to watch Surya as Bodhi Dharman if nothing else.
RATING: **** Snazzy (for Surya)
Otherwise ** Shaky